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Cardinal Lienart 
&the 

Intention to Do What the Church Does 



Christopher P. Conlon 
2014 



Table of Contents 



A Doubtful Debate 1 

Faith and Intention 4 

Heretics and Holy Orders 10 

The Intention to Do What the Church Does 21 

Presumption of Intention and Validity 29 

Conclusion 36 

Appendix A: The Deathbed Confession 38 

Appendix B: Sylogisms 

Scenario 1 40 

Scenario 2 41 

Works Cited 42 



I 

A Doubtful Debate 



It's relatively well known that the Holy Orders of many 
traditional Catholic priests and bishops today trace back to 
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Some Catholics, however, have 
claimed that these orders are invalid, or doubtful, due to Abp. 
Lefebvre 's own priestly and episcopal ordinations being conferred 
by Cardinal Achille Lienart. It's contended that Lienart was a 
Freemason, an enemy of the Church, and, therefore, he could not 
have had the sufficient intention required to validly confer the 
priestly and episcopal orders on Lefebvre; or, at the very least, his 
intention should be doubted. These claims and doubts arise from 
an underlying question: How could an enemy of the Church have 
the proper intention of the Church? 

With a little research, one will find that all alleged evidence 
about Lienart being a Freemason is grounded on supposed 
statements of completely anonymous sources, such as the 
anonymous "Mr. B" that the Marquis La Franquerie used as his 
sole source when initiating this claim. Now, Lienart could very 
well have been a Freemason, despite the fact that an anonymous 
testimony provides us with little reason to assert this with any 
degree of certainty. However, in light of Catholic teaching, 
whether or not Lienart was a Freemason is actually irrelevant to 
the question of the validity of Lefebvre's orders. 

Most Catholics, especially those reading this, are aware that 
a sacrament's validity depends on matter, form, and intention. As 
mentioned, intention has been made the object of speculation 
regarding Lefebvre's orders. It is very easy to misunderstand the 
doctrine of sacramental intention, though, and if we are going to 
place the validity of anyone's orders under a microscope, then we 
need to make sure to examine the details through the lens of the 
Church. With a momentary glance and an unfocussed lens, we 
may just notice that intention is required for a valid sacrament. We 
might see it mentioned in the formal decrees on the doctrine, such 
as those of the Council of Florence and the Council of Trent. 



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"All these sacraments are dispensed in three ways, 
namely, by things as the matter, by words as the form, and by 
the person of the minister conferring the sacrament with the 
intention of doing as the Church does; if any of these is 
lacking the sacrament is not fulfilled." (DZ 695) 

— Pope Eugenius IV. Council of Florence. Exultate Deo. 1439. 

"If any one saith, that, in ministers, when they effect, and 
confer the sacraments, there is not required the intention at 
least of doing what the Church does; let him be anathema." 
(DZ 854) 

— Pope Paul III. Council of Trent, Sess. VII. De Sacr. can. 11. 
1547. 

After noticing this, however, we must nevertheless be 
careful not to ascribe our own definitions and beliefs to what this 
intention is and how it is to be applied to particular cases. We 
must not assume it is obvious, and then box-up the microscope. 
Relying on our own assumptions, we may, perhaps, conclude that 
Lienart's intention must be doubted. We might come to any 
number of conclusions if we rely on our own opinion about the 
meaning of intention with regard to the sacraments. But if it was 
through the lens of the Church that we noticed that intention is 
required for a valid sacrament, then through this same lens we 
ought to learn what this means. We may think that since no more 
particulars were included in these formal decrees, then nothing 
more could be known about the doctrine of sacramental intention. 
However, as stated in the third volume of The Clifton Tracts 
(published in 1 865 by the Brotherhood of St. Vincent of Paul), 
both the particulars of Church teaching and mind of the Church 
can be known by consulting Catholic books and the writings of 
Catholic theologians. 

"It is absurd to say you cannot know the doctrine of the 
Church on some particular point because she has issued no 
formal decree. You may know her mind from her popular 
teaching, and from the writings of her great men and 
doctors... Well, so is it with the doctrine of intention. The 
Council of Trent framed a decree about it, and subsequent 
Popes have issued formal decisions upon it; and if you are 
not satisfied with these, and want to know something more 



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explicit, you may go to Catholic theologians, and ask for 
further knowledge at their lips, or consult their writings." 
(p. 17) 

— Brotherhood of St. Vincent of Paul. "The Intention of the 
Minister Necessary, etc." The Clifton Tracts, Vol.III. 1865. 

Without knowing the mind of the Church, and relying on 
our own personal definitions and opinions, we may come to think 
that the issue was positively doubtful, and that the safer course 
would be to regard the Lefebvre line of priests as doubtfully valid. 
Yet prudence obliges us to focus our lens and find out if our own 
mind coincides with the mind of the Church. It's never too late to 
dust off the microscope and take another look. In doing this, we'll 
see that all doubts about this issue are truly negative doubts, and 
the opinion that the Lefebvre line should be regarded as doubtfully 
valid is not the safer course, but a course that contradicts the mind 
and teachings of the Church. 



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II 

Faith and Intention 

Intention is defined as "an act of the will, by which a man 
chooses a particular thing" (A Catholic Dictionary, p. 8 11, 1884), 
but one could easily misunderstand this to mean that a person must 
have some degree of faith in order to have the intention required 
for a valid sacrament. This misunderstanding could then drive the 
idea that there must be some doubt about a heretic's, or other 
unbeliever's, intention when conferring or receiving sacraments. If 
this idea is applied to Cardinal Lienart, coupled with the belief that 
he might have been a Freemason, and therefore a heretic or 
unbeliever of some sort, then a person might conclude that his 
intention would be void due to the idea that a defect in faith causes 
a defect of intention. This, however, is all contrary to what the 
Church teaches. 

To begin, there are hardly any persons more unworthy to 
confer sacraments than heretics, but the idea that the validity of the 
sacraments depends on the personal worthiness of the minister is 
itself a heresy. 

"The proposition that the validity of the sacraments does not 
depend on the personal worthiness of the minister embodies 
an article of faith" (p.2) 

— De Salvo, Rev. Raphael, O.S.B., S.T.L. The Dogmatic Theology 
on the Intention of the Minister in the Confection of the Sacraments. 
1949. 

Upon reflection, this only stands to reason. What chaos 
and doubt would befall the Church if we had to know the 
worthiness and mind of every minister! Indeed, the possibility that 
some person long ago had held to some occult sin or heresy would 
render all sacraments doubtful. Our Lord understood that the 
Church was a public institution, and wisely outlined Her doctrine 
regarding the sacraments so that we could receive them securely. 
He wants us to be confident that, where the Church recognizes a 
valid sacrament, we can trust that Our Lord has accomplished it. 

Understanding that the unworthiness of a minister doesn't 
affect the validity a sacrament may correct some misconceptions 
about the administration of sacraments, but obviously this doesn't 



5 



fully address the confusion between the concepts of intention and 
faith. This confusion is not new, though, as people have 
mistakenly mixed these two things in the past. However, as the 
very learned Adrian Fortescue, D.D. points out, the two concepts 
are mutually exclusive. 

"People who are not theologians never seem to understand 
how little intention is wanted for a sacrament (the point 
applies equally to minister and subject). The 'implicit 
intention of doing what Christ instituted' means so vague 
and small a thing that one can hardly help having it — unless 
one deliberately excludes it. At the time when everyone was 
talking about Anglican orders, numbers of Catholics 
confused intention with faith. Faith is not wanted. It is heresy 
to say that it is. (This was the error of St Cyprian and 
Firmilian against which Pope Stephen I 254-257 protested). 
A man may have utterly wrong, heretical and blasphemous 
views about a sacrament and yet confer or receive it quite 
validly." (pp.94-95) 

— Fortescue, Adrian, D.D. The Greek Fathers. 1908. 

There's much that could be learned about sacramental 
intention just from this short passage, but the important point to be 
noted at this time is that faith and intention are not to be confused, 
as faith is not required for the validity of a sacrament. As stated, a 
sacrament can be validly conferred by a heretic, even one whose 
heresy concerns the very sacrament he is conferring or receiving. 

History gives us actual examples of times when some have 
had, "utterly wrong, heretical and blasphemous views about a 
sacrament and yet confer or receive it quite validly" (Fortescue, 
p. 95). In 1872, for example, the Holy Office dealt with just such a 
case when addressing a question posed by the Bishop of Oceana. 
The question was whether Baptism is valid, even when the 
minister expressly declares, before baptizing, that what he was 
about to do had no effect on the soul, and also warns those about to 
be baptized to not believe Baptism has any effect on the soul. The 
Holy Office responded, and taught in clear language, that even the 
expressed declaration of the minister that a sacrament produced no 
effects is not enough to invalidate the sacrament, since this still 
would not exclude the intention to do what the Church does. 



6 



"In some places, some (heretics) baptize with the 
proper matter and the form simultaneously applied, but they 
expressly warn the baptizands not to believe that baptism has 
any effect upon the soul; for they say that it is merely the 
external sign of aggregation of the sects. And so often the 
Catholics in their crowd turn around their belief about the 
effects of Baptism, and call it superstitious. Question: 

1. Whether baptism administered by those heretics is 
doubtful on account of defect of intention to do what Christ 
willed, if an express declaration was made by the minister 
before he baptized that baptism had no effect on the soul? 

2. Whether baptism so conferred is doubtful if the 
aforesaid declaration was not expressly made immediately 
before the conferring of baptism, but had often been asserted 
by the minister, and the same doctrine was openly preached 
in that sect?" 

Reply to the first question: In the negative; because 
despite the error about the effects of baptism, the intention of 
doing what the Church does is not excluded. 

Reply to the second question: Provided for in the 
answer to the first." 

— Sacra Congregatio Sancti Officii. 18 Decern. 1872 - Vic. Ap. 
Oceaniae Centr. "Dubium quoad Baptisma ad mi n i strata m ab 
haereticis." Acta Sanctae Sedis, Vol. XXV, 1892-93, p. 246. 1 



1 English trans, by author. Original Latin text reads as follows: 

S. C. S. Officii 18 Decern. 1872 - Vic. Ap. Oceaniae Centr. 
Dubium quoad Baptisma ad mi n i stratu m ab haereticis. 
In quibusdam locis nonnulli (haeretici) baptizant cum materia et forma 
debitis simultanee applicatis, sed expresse monent baptizandos ne credant 
Baptismum habere ullum effectum in animam ; dicunt enim ipsum esse signum 
mere externum aggregationis illorum sectae. Itaque Mi saepe catholicos in 
densum vertunt circa eorumfidem de effectibus Baptismi, quam vocant quidem 
superstitiosam. Quaeritur: 

1. Utrum Baptismus ab Mis haereticis administratus sit dubius propter 
defectum intentionis faciendi quod voluit Christus, si expresse declaratum fuerit 
a ministro, antequam baptizet, Baptismum nullum habere effectum in animam? 

2. Utrum dubius sit Baptismus sic collatus si praedicta declaration non 
expresse facta fuerit immediate, antequam Baptismus conferretur, sed ilia saepe 
pronuntiata fuerit a ministro, et Ma doctrina aperte praedicetur in ilia secta? 

R. Ad 1. Negative ; quia non obstante errore quoad effectus Baptismi, 
non excluditur intentio faciendi quodfacit Ecclesia. 
Ad 2. Provisum in primo. 



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A similar case was addressed by the Holy Office in 1877, 
with regard to certain Methodist baptisms. As with the previous 
case, this too involved a question about the validity of baptisms 
conferred and received by those who considered baptism 
indifferent and unnecessary. Despite the heretical views these 
people held about baptism, the Holy Office confirmed that their 
baptisms were, indeed, valid. 

"The Bishop of Nesqually had addressed to the 
Propaganda an inquiry concerning the validity of baptisms 
conferred by Methodists, against the validity of whose 
baptisms he alleged an insufficient and adverse intention and 
consequently the presumption of invalidity. The Bishop 
stated that the Methodists held so many errors about the 
necessity, the power, and the efficacy of the sacrament of 
Baptism that they considered it merely an indifferent rite 
which had been entirely omitted in the past and at a later 
time had been put into use again for the purpose of deceiving 
the faithful and attempting to show them that their false 
religion did not differ from the true religion. (Sacra 
Congregatio Sancti Officii, Jan.24, 1877-CSCPF, n.1465, Vol.11, 
pp.99-100 sqq.) 

To this question the Holy Office gave a very detailed 
answer which is one of the most explicit statements about the 
intention of doing what the Church does. In substance the 
reply lays down the following principles: 

1. It is a dogma of faith that Baptism administered by 
anyone, whether a schismatic, a heretic, or even an infidel, 
must be considered valid, as long as in their administration 
those things are present by which the sacrament is perfected, 
namely, due matter, the prescribed form, and the person of 
the minister with the intention of doing what the Church 
does. Hence it follows that the peculiar errors which the 
ministers profess either privately or publicly do not at all 
affect baptism or any other sacrament. 

2. The errors which the heretics profess privately or 
publicly are not incompatible with that intention which the 
ministers of the sacraments must have, namely, of doing 
what the Church does. Those errors in themselves cannot 
give rise to a general presumption against the validity of 
the sacraments in general and baptism in particular. 



8 



From these principles taken from the decision of the 
Holy Office it must be concluded that as a general rule the 
baptisms of heretics are valid in spite of the fact that their 
ministers hold beliefs entirely incompatible with the 
Catholic doctrine concerning Baptism, and deny all power 
of regeneration in that sacrament. Their error does not offer 
sufficient reason to conclude that they have an insufficient or 
adverse intention in regard to conferring the 
sacrament." (pp.28-29) 

— De Salvo, Rev. Raphael, O.S.B., S.T.L. The Dogmatic Theology 
on the Intention of the Minister in the Confection of the Sacraments. 
1949. 

As we'll see later, the Holy Office's teaching here is based 
on what it precisely means to intend to do what the Church does. 
But for now, let's conclude the topic of faith and the validity 
sacraments by turning to the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, 
whose teaching "enjoys such an elegance of phraseology, a method 
of statement, a truth of proposition, that those who hold it are never 
found swerving from the path of truth, and he who dare assail it 
will always be suspected of error." (Pope Leo XIII, Aeterni Patri, 
1879). In this particular passage from his Summa Theologica, St. 
Thomas explains why it is not necessary for the minister of a 
sacrament to have faith in order to confect a valid sacrament. In 
doing so, the fact is reiterated: even a faithless unbeliever, 
Freemason or otherwise, can confer a valid sacrament. 

"As stated above (Article 5), since the minister works 
instrumentally in the sacraments, he acts not by his own but 
by Christ's power. Now just as charity belongs to a man's 
own power so also does faith. Wherefore, just as the validity 
of a sacrament does not require that the minister should have 
charity, and even sinners can confer sacraments, as stated 
above (Article 5); so neither is it necessary that he should 
have faith, and even an unbeliever can confer a true 
sacrament, provided that the other essentials be there." 

— ST III, Q. 64, Art. 9, co. 

St. Thomas likewise teaches that an excommunicated minister, 
such as a Freemason, can confer sacraments validly. 



9 



"The power of administering the sacraments belongs to the 
spiritual character which is indelible, as explained above (63, 
3). Consequently, if a man be suspended by the Church, or 
excommunicated or degraded, he does not lose the power of 
conferring sacraments, but the permission to use this power. 
Wherefore he does indeed confer the sacrament, but he sins 
in so doing." 

— ST III, Q. 64, Art. 9, ad. 3 

It should be sufficiently clear that neither personal 
worthiness, nor faith, is necessary for the validity of a sacrament; 
and that heretics and other excommunicates, such as Freemasons, 
can confer sacraments validly, even if they hold and express utterly 
wrong, blasphemous, and heretical views about the sacrament they 
are conferring. Therefore, even if Cardinal Lienart was a 
Freemason, neither his personal unworthiness, his 
excommunication, his possible lack of faith, nor any heretical 
views he had about the sacraments, would have affected the 
validity of those sacraments conferred or received by him. 



10 



III 

Heretics and Holy Orders 

In spite of the fact that a defect of faith, or heresy, does not 
in itself affect the validity of sacraments in general, there might 
still exist the particular belief that heretics, schismatics, and other 
excommunicates cannot validly confer or receive orders because of 
their heresy, schism, or excommunication. With this belief, 
therefore, one might conclude that all else may have been validly 
conferred or received by Cardinal Lienart, except for orders. 
Nowhere, however, does the Catholic Church teach that heretics, 
schismatics, or other excommunicates are incapable of validly 
conferring or receiving orders. On the contrary, the Church has 
always taught that heresy and schism do not affect orders from 
being conferred or received validly, just as was shown with regard 
to sacraments in general. The teachings of the Church against the 
administration and reception of orders by heretics, schismatics, and 
excommunicates, condemn them as illicit, not as invalid. 
Ecclesiastical laws, such as Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, affect the 
possession of offices and those related powers that might be 
received by promotions or elevations to those offices, but not the 
actual orders conferred by ordination and consecration. That 
apostates, heretics, schismatics, and other excommunicates have 
the capacity to validly confer and receive orders is an established 
teaching of the Church. 

The 1917 Code of Canon Law clearly illustrates this 
teaching. To begin, note that there are three classes of conditions 
by which a person would be forbidden to be ordained - incapacity, 
irregularity, and impediment. Incapacity is the only one of these 
three general conditions that would make a person incapable of 
being validly ordained. Can. 968 defines that only two specific 
conditions are required for a person to be capable of receiving 
orders validly - 1. that they are a male, 2. that they are baptized. 
Even infants are capable of being validly ordained, as long as they 
are a baptized male. 

"Can. 968... § I defines who are capable of receiving orders 
validly, and who may receive them licitly according to canon 
law. Two conditions are required for valid ordination, viz.: 



11 



the male sex and Baptism. The following classes of persons 
are therefore incapable of being validly ordained. 

(1) Women. . . 

(2) Incapable of validly receiving orders are also men 
who are not baptized... 

Our text says vir, a man, which term, however, must 
not be pressed to the extent of assuming a full-grown man. 
For the ordination of infants, though illicit, is valid, as 
Benedict XIV says ("Eo quamvis," May 4. 1745. §§ 20, 28)." 
(pp.444.446, Can. 968) 

— Augustine, Rev. Charles P., O.S.B., D.D. A Commentary on the 
New Code of Canon Law, Vol. IV. 1 92 1 . 

Therefore, as long as a heretic, schismatic, or other 
excommunicate is a baptized male, they are fully capable of being 
validly ordained. They would not have an incapacity, but an 
irregularity, as Can. 985 states. 

"Irregularity arising from crime is incurred by: 1. Apostates 
from the faith, heretics, and schismatics..." (pp.485-486, Can. 
985) 

— Augustine, Rev. Charles P., O.S.B., D.D. A Commentary on the 
New Code of Canon Law, Vol. IV. 1921. 

In regards to irregularity, the canonist, Rev. Charles 
Augustine, explains that it only forbids one from licitly ordaining 
and being ordained. Irregularity does not prevent the validity of 
orders. Note also that the third class of conditions, impediment , is 
even less than an irregularity. As previously stated, a baptized male 
heretic, schismatic, or other excommunicate would simply have an 
irregularity, not an incapacity. 

"The other class of persons mentioned in our canon are those 
who may receive orders validly, but not lawfully. They are 
either irregular or suffer from a canonical impediment. This 
is a new regulation, for thus far a distinction was made only 
between incapacity and irregularity. Now a strictly so-called 
canonical impediment is introduced, which is less than 
irregularity. 

Irregularity is derived from the Latin contra regulam... 
It signifies general inhability established by law, for there is 



12 



no irregularity except it be expressed in the law (can. 983). 
The effect of this inhability consists in forbidding one from 
being licitly ordained and from exercising the orders 
received." (p.446, Can. 968) 

— Augustine, Rev. Charles P., O.S.B., D.D. A Commentary on the 
New Code of Canon Law, Vol. IV. 1 92 1 . 

Since irregularity only affects licitness, not validity, it is clear then 
that a heretic and schismatic, though having an irregularity, is 
capable of validly conferring and receiving orders. 

"The ordinary minister of sacred ordination is every (validly) 
consecrated bishop, even though he be a schismatic or heretic" 
(p.412, Can.951) 

— Augustine, Rev. Charles P., O.S.B., D.D. A Commentary on the 
New Code of Canon Law, Vol. IV. 1 92 1 . 

Finally, Canon 2372 clearly states, and reaffirms, that those 
who seek out and receive orders from a minister known to be 
excommunicated, suspended, or indicted, can receive orders, but 
are, simply, not legally allowed to exercise them until they are 
dispensed by their Ordinary. 

"1. Those who dare to receive Orders from an 
excommunicated, suspended, or interdicted minister, provided he 
has been declared such or condemned to one of the three afore- 
mentioned penalties, or from a notorious apostate, a notorious 
heretic, or a notorious schismatic, ipso facto incur suspension a 
divinis, reserved to the Apostolic See. 

2. Those who have been bona fide ordained by one of the 
above-named persons forbidden by law to administer orders, 
may not exercise the orders thus received, until they are dispensed. 
This dispensation can be given by the Ordinary to whom the 
ordinatus is subject." (pp.448, Can. 2372) 

— Augustine, Rev. Charles P., O.S.B., D.D. A Commentary on the 
New Code of Canon Law, Vol. VIII. 1922. 

Lienart would have only possibly had an irregularity, at 
most, if he were a Freemason. He would not have had an 
incapacity for orders; that is, of course, as long as he was a 
baptized male, about which no sane Catholic would entertain 



13 



doubts. Whether or not he was a Freemason, apostate, heretic, 
schismatic, or other excommunicate, there is no doubt about his 
capability of validly receiving and conferring orders. 

These canon laws recognizing the validity of orders 
conferred and received by heretics and other excommunicates 
would certainly be dangerous, harmful, and imperfect, if it were 
true that heretics and other excommunicates couldn't really validly 
confer or receive orders. However, it should be remembered that it 
is impossible for the Church to establish even disciplinary laws 
that are inherently dangerous or harmful. 

"as if the Church which is ruled by the Spirit of God could 
have established discipline which is not only useless and 
burdensome for Christian liberty to endure, but which is even 
dangerous and harmful and leading to superstition and 
materialism, - false, rash, scandalous, dangerous, offensive to 
pious ears, injurious to the Church and to the Spirit of God by 
whom it is guided, at least erroneous." (n.78, DZ 1578) 

— Pope Pius VI. Auctorem Fidei. 1794. 

Apart from the Code of Canon Law, the fact that heretics 
and other excommunicates can confer and receive orders has also 
been unanimously and consistently taught by many of the Church's 
theologians, catechisms and other authoritative books throughout 
history. There are too many to cite, but take, for example, the 
answer given by the 1821 book, The Real Principles of Catholics, 
under the question, "Can any bishop confer orders?" 

"Heretics and schismatics, may validly, but not lawfully 
ordain; yet, by the decree of the council of Trent, no alien 
bishop can ordain priests without dimissory letters from the 
proper bishop." (p.286) 

— Hornihold, Right Rev. Dr. The Real Principles of Catholics. 4 th 
Ed. 1821. 

The popes, of course, have also acknowledged the validity 
of orders conferred by non-Catholics. For instance, in 496 AD 
Pope St. Anastasius (496-498) taught that those ordained by a 
certain schismatic bishop were validly ordained. In 1595, Pope 



14 



Clement VIII (1592-1605) also confirmed the validity of 
ordinations conferred by schismatic bishops. 

"(7) According to the most sacred custom of the 
Catholic Church, let the heart of your serenity acknowledge 
that no share in the injury from the name of Acacius should 
attach to any of these whom Acacius the schismatic bishop 
has baptized, or to any whom he has ordained priests or 
levites according to the canons, lest perchance the grace of the 
sacrament seem less powerful when conferred by an unjust 
[person]. . . . For if the rays of that visible sun are not stained 
by contact with any Pollution when they pass over the foulest 
places, much less is the virtue of him who made that visible 
[sun] fettered by any unworthiness in the minister. 

(8) Therefore, then, this person has only injured 
himself by wickedly administering the good. For the 
inviolable sacrament, which was given through him, held the 
perfection of its virtue for others." (DZ 169) 

— Pope St. Anastasius. Exordium Ponificatus mei. 496 AD. 

"Those ordained by schismatic bishops, who have been 
otherwise duly ordained, the due form having been observed, 
receive, indeed, ordination, but not jurisdiction." (DZ 1087) 

— Pope Clement VIII. Instruction concerning the rites of the halo- 
Greeks. 1595. 

As previously shown, St. Thomas Aquinas taught that faith 
is not required for the validity of a sacrament, and that even an 
unbeliever can confer a valid sacrament. He also specifically 
teaches that heretics and others cut off from the Church are still 
capable of validly ordaining. 

"When a bishop who has fallen into heresy is 
reconciled he is not reconsecrated. Therefore he did not lose 
the power which he had of conferring Orders. 

Further, the power to ordain is greater than the power 
of Orders. But the power of Orders is not forfeited on 
account of heresy and the like. Neither therefore is the power 
to ordain. 

Further, as the one who baptizes exercises a merely 
outward ministry, so does one who ordains, while God works 



15 



inwardly. But one who is cut off from the Church by no 
means loses the power to baptize. Neither therefore does he 
lose the power to ordain." 

— ST, Suppl., Q. 38, Art. 2, s. c. 

However, we might object that so long as the heretic is 
tolerated by the Church, he retains the power to ordain, but not 
after he's been cut-off from the Church. St. Thomas, though, says 
this objection is false, and shows why. 

"...this is impossible, because, happen what may, no power 
that is given with a consecration can be taken away so long as 
the thing itself remains, any more than the consecration itself 
can be annulled, for even an altar or chrism once consecrated 
remains consecrated for ever. Wherefore, since the episcopal 
power is conferred by consecration, it must needs endure for 
ever, however much a man may sin or be cut off from the 
Church." 

— ST, Suppl., Q. 38, Art. 2, co. 

We might, then, object that a heretic retains the power to 
ordain, but no one they ordained or consecrated would have the 
power to ordain or consecrate others. This is also false, as St. 
Thomas teaches. 

"...this again is impossible, for if those who were ordained in 
the Church retain the power they received, it is clear that by 
exercising their power they consecrate validly, and therefore 
they validly confer whatever power is given with that 
consecration, and thus those who receive ordination or 
promotion from them have the same power as they." 

— ST, Suppl., Q. 38, Art. 2, co. 

If it isn't clear yet, the teaching that heretics and other 
excommunicates can validly confer and receive orders is not just a 
doctrine that can be disregarded as speculative theology or a 
musing of theologians that has never had any real world 
application. This is not like the question of how many angels can 
dance on a pin-head. Even if it weren't for the fact that Catholics 
must assent, under pain of mortal sin, to any truth unanimously 
held by theologians, we would still not be able to relegate this 



16 



matter to one of mere speculation. The fact is that the Church 
recognizes valid orders within heretical and schismatic sects. For 
actual examples, a person only needs to look at the Greek 
Schismatics, Jansenists, and Old Catholics 

"A validly consecrated bishop can validly confer all orders 
from the minor orders to the episcopate inclusively, though 
he be a heretic, schismatic, or deposed and degraded from the 
episcopal dignity, for he nevertheless retains the episcopal 
character in virtue of which he can validly ordain, provided 
he observes the essentials of the form of ordination and has 
the intention to do what the Church does in performing the 
sacred ordination rites. For this reason the ordinations 
performed by the schismatic (Orthodox) bishops of the Greek 
Church, by the Jansenist bishops in Holland, and by the Old 
Catholics in Germany and Switzerland are considered valid." 
(p.558) 

— Woywod, Stanislaus, O.F.M. Ed. Smith, Callistus, O.F.M., 
J.C.L. A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, Vol. I. 
1948. 

The Church has, in fact, always officially upheld and 
accepted the validity of ordinations in heretical and schismatic 
sects throughout history, even in the earliest times of the Church. 
Even in the 3 rd century, Pope Stephen upheld the validity of 
ordinations performed by heretics. Moreover, belief that heresy or 
the unworthiness of the minister could prevent the validity of 
sacraments such as these, was actually one of the primary heresies 
of Donatism, a 4 th century heresy that was defeated almost single- 
handedly by St. Augustine. 

"There is no doubt, for instance, that Pope Stephen, who 
upheld the validity of Baptism conferred by heretics against 
St. Cyprian and Firmilian, upheld also the validity of 
Ordinations performed by these same heretics. The Council 
of Nicea accepted the Ordinations of the Novatians and the 
Meletians, and Severus of Antioch, a Monophysite, accepted 
those of Dyophysites, i.e., the orthodox. We all know how 
triumphantly St. Augustine proved against the Donatists that 
Jesus Christ is the principle minister of the Sacraments, and 
that consequently neither heresy nor the unworthiness of 



17 



secondary ministers can prevent these Sacraments from 
existing." (p.274) 

— Tixeront, Rev. J. Holy Orders and Ordination. 1928. 

Not only has the Church officially upheld and accepted the 
validity of ordinations conferred and received by heretics and 
schismatics, but She incorporates this doctrine into Her official 
procedures and practices. When those validly ordained in a 
heretical or schismatic sect convert, they are not reordained, even 
when they are approved to function as Catholic priests and 
bishops. This, again, has been the practice of the Church since its 
earliest times, as we can see from St. Thomas in his Summa, and 
also in the writings of St. Augustine against the Donatists. 

"But such as are ordained while separated from the Church, 
have neither the power rightly, nor do they use it rightly. But 
that in both cases they have the power, is clear from what 
Augustine says (Contra Parmen. ii), that when they return to 
the unity of the Church, they are not re-ordained, but are 
received in their orders." 

— ST, III, Q. 82, Art. 7, co. 

"Regarding the Sacrament of Order he [St. Augustine] says (c. 
Parmen. ii. 28): 'Some of them [the Donatists], overcome by 
the force of truth, have begun to say, that indeed baptism is 
not lost by separation, but that the right to administer it is 
lost: this is a vain distinction for both are sacraments, both 
are given by a certain consecration, one in baptism the other 
in ordination, and therefore in the Catholic Church neither 
can be repeated. Hence even when bishops come over, and 
for the good of peace are sometimes retained in their 
functions, they are not reordained.... but what was criminal 
in the separation is corrected by the union.' These passages 
need very little comment; it is manifest that he [St. Augustine] 
regarded these three sacraments as valid when administered 
by Donatists..." (p.405) 

— Burton, Rev. P. "Saint Augustine and the Donatists." The Dublin 
Review, vol. 112, April, 1893. 

This can also be seen in many other instances of early Church 
history. 



18 



"St. Athanasius, St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Alexandria, 
Theodoret, and others were all supplanted by intruding 
bishops who administered orders; but these ordinations were 
recognized when the rightful bishops were re-instated." 
(p.503) 

— Wilhelm, D.D., Ph.D. and Scannell, Thomas B., D.D. A Manual 
of Catholic Theology, Vol. II. 1901. 

Some of us may be more familiar with the schismatic 
Greeks, who provide a later example of this teaching and practice 
of the Church. 

"The schismatical Greek priests have received their 
orders from validly ordained bishops. Therefore, even 
though they are not united to the Catholic Church they have 
the power to say Mass. When these schismatical preists 
return to the unity of the Church, they are not reordained." 
(p.335) 

— Morrow, Rev. Louis LaRavoire, S.T.D., Bishop of Krishnagar. 
My Catholic Faith. 3 rd Ed. 1954. 

Other examples of this are given by Pope St. Gregory the 
Great (590-604) in Quia charitati (601 AD) and by Pope Paschal II 
(1099-1 1 18) at the Council of Guastala. 

"From the ancient institution of the Fathers we have 
learned that those who are baptized in the name of the 
Trinity, although amid heresy, whenever they return to the 
holy Church, may be recalled to the bosom of their mother 
the Church either with the anointing of chrism, or the 
imposition of hands, or with a profession of faith alone . . . , 
because the holy baptism, which they received among the 
heretics, at that time restores the power of cleansing in them 
when they have been united to the holy faith and the heart of 
the universal Church. But these heretics who are not 
baptized in the name of the Trinity . . . , whenever they come 
to the holy Church, are baptized, because whatever those 
placed in error received not in the name of the Trinity-was 
not baptism. Nor can that baptism itself, which, as has been 
said, had not been given in the name of the Trinity, be called 
repeated. 



19 



Therefore . . . without any hesitation your holiness 
may receive in your assembly all whoever return from the 
perverse error of Nestorius, their own orders preserved for 
them so that, while . . . through gentleness you make no 
opposition or difficulty in regard to their own orders, you 
may snatch them from the mouth of the ancient enemy." 
(DZ 249) 

— Pope St. Gregory the Great. Quia charitati. 601 AD. 

"For many years now the broad extent of the Teutonic 
kingdom has been separated from the unity of the Apostolic 
See. In this schism indeed so great a danger has arisen that- 
and we say this with sorrow-only a few priests or Catholic 
clergy are found in such a broad extent of territory. 
Therefore, with so many sons living in this condition, the 
necessity of Christian peace demands that regarding this 
(group) the maternal womb of the Church be open. Therefore 
instructed by the examples and writings of our Fathers, who 
in different times received into their ranks the Novatians, the 
Donatists, and other heretics, we are receiving in the 
episcopal office the bishops of the above-mentioned region 
who have been ordained in schism, unless they are proven 
usurpers, simoniacs, or criminals. We decree the same 
concerning the clergy of any rank whom way of life together 
with knowledge commends." (DZ 358) 

— Pope Paschal II. Council of Guastala. 1 106. 

The heretical and schismatic Eutychians even retained valid 
orders and other sacraments for at least fourteen centuries, and, 
after formally disavowing their heresy, were authoritatively 
received into the Church with these valid orders. 



"The Greek schism touched the Papacy as the continuous 
headship of Peter. For all or any of these bodies to unite with 
the Catholic Church again, required but little. If any body, 
like the Eutychians recently, who, after being fourteen 
centuries out of the Church, formally disavows, by an 
authoritative act, the particular heretical doctrine it has held, 
it comes back with its apostolic succession, valid orders, Mass 
and sacraments. All goes on externally as before, but they are 
Catholics. Even the Greek Church in Russia, Greece and 



20 



Turkey could, by a simple act recognizing the supremacy of 
the Pope, restore millions upon millions to the unity of faith." 
(p.98) 

— Shea, John Gilmary, LL.D. "Bostonian Ignorance of Catholic 
Doctrine." The American Cathlolic Quarterly Review, Vol. XIV, 
Jan. to Oct, 1889. 

It's evident that the opinion that sacraments cannot be 
validly conferred or received by heretics, or other 
excommunicates, is a belief that is contrary to the teachings and 
practices of the Church. It is, in fact, considered proximate to the 
faith that heretics can validly confer and receive all of the other 
sacraments (except Penance for jurisdictional reasons). 
Consequently, the opposite proposition (that a heretical minister 
cannot validly confer or receive orders) is, at a minimum, 
proximate to heresy. 

"That the validity of the sacraments does not depend on the 
orthodox belief of the minister is a "matter of faith" at least in 
regard to the sacrament of Baptism... Although there is no 
explicit definition in regard to the other sacraments, it is 
regarded as fidei proximum that the heretics can validly 
administer all of them with the exception of Penance, which 
cannot be validly conferred by heretical and schismatic 
priests, except in the case of urgent necessity; but this is not 
on account of their lack of orthodoxy but due to the fact that 
they have no ecclesiastical jurisdiction." (pp.4-5) 

— De Salvo, Rev. Raphael, O.S.B., S.T.L. The Dogmatic Theology 
on the Intention of the Minister in the Confection of the Sacraments. 
1949. 

Unless ignorance excuses, belief in a proposition that is 
proximate to heresy, such as believing heretics cannot validly 
ordain, is mortally sinful, and as close to heresy as you'll get 
without actually being a heretic. Knowing this, we must, with fear 
of grave sin, firmly hold the truth that heretics and other 
excommunicates can validly confer and receive orders. With the 
same degree of fear, therefore, we must firmly hold that even if 
Cardinal Lienart was a Freemason, it would not affect the validity 
of the orders he received or conferred. 



21 



IV 

The Intention to Do What the Church Does 

We've seen that intention is not faith, that faith is not 
required for valid sacraments, that heretics can validly ordain, and 
that a man may even "have utterly wrong, heretical and 
blasphemous views about a sacrament and yet confer or receive it 
quite validly" (Fortescue, p. 95). A closer look at sacramental 
intention makes it easier to see why this is the case, and why even 
a person who believes that a certain sacrament is an unnecessary, 
inefficacious, and indifferent rite can still confer and receive that 
sacrament validly. 

To begin properly understanding sacramental intention, 
let's again, "Go to Thomas and ask him to give [us] from his ample 
store the food of substantial doctrine wherewith to nourish [our] 
souls unto eternal life," as Pope Pius XI teaches us to do in his 
1923 encyclical, Studiorum Ducem. In doing so, we will see that 
St Thomas Aquinas reaffirms what has been shown thus far, and 
also provides us with a deeper understanding about the intention 
necessary for valid sacraments. 

First, we see that St. Thomas teaches that the intention of 
the minister is, indeed, required in confecting a valid sacrament, as 
the sacramental operation would not be valid if it just happened to 
be performed by chance. We then see from his teaching that this 
intention is expressed by the words pronounced in a sacrament. 

"What is unintentional happens by chance. But this cannot 
be said of the sacramental operation. Therefore the 
sacraments require the intention of the minister." 

— ST III, Q. 64, Art. 8, s. c. 

"And this intention is expressed by the words which are 
pronounced in the sacraments; for instance the words, "I 
baptize thee in the name of the Father," etc." 

— ST III, Q. 64, Art. 8, co. 

Now, one might assert that because the general intention of 
Freemasonry is contrary to that of the Church, then a Freemason 
could not have the proper intention required to validly confer a 
sacrament; and, consequently, any sacrament conferred by a 



22 



Freemason must be regarded as invalid, or doubtfully valid at best. 
Similarly, it might be asserted that if Cardinal Lienart was a 
Freemason, then his membership would be, in itself, an expression 
of a contrary intention, or his Freemasonic membership would 
mean that he has expressed certain things in becoming a member 
that would be equivalent to expressing a contrary intention; and, 
therefore, he would have had a defective intention when conferring 
orders on Lefebvre. These assertions, though, would derive from 
another misunderstanding about the intention required in 
conferring sacraments. It is the misconceived notion that if the 
minister or recipient of a sacrament has any kind of perverted 
intention in regard to the Church, or the sacrament they are 
conferring, then they would have an intention that is not that of the 
Church's, and the result would be an invalid sacrament. Here, the 
word intention is being ascribed the broadest definition, such as 
how it might be commonly used in society today. But the intention 
required in the sacraments, as defined by the Church and Her 
theologians, is not a broad intention at all, but a very specific type 
of intention. St. Thomas directly addresses this common 
misconception about sacramental intention, showing that there are 
two types of intention in regard to the sacrament. One of these 
types of intention may be perverted without affecting the validity 
of the sacrament. 

"The minister's intention may be perverted in two 
ways. First in regard to the sacrament: for instance, when a 
man does not intend to confer a sacrament, but to make a 
mockery of it. Such a perverse intention takes away the truth 
of the sacrament, especially if it be manifested outwardly. 

Secondly, the minister's intention may be perverted as 
to something that follows the sacrament: for instance, a priest 
may intend to baptize a woman so as to be able to abuse her; 
or to consecrate the Body of Christ, so as to use it for sorcery. 
And because that which comes first does not depend on that 
which follows, consequently such a perverse intention does 
not annul the sacrament; but the minister himself sins 
grievously in having such an intention." 
— ST III, Q. 64, Art. 10, co. 



23 



As those familiar with the Summa Theologica know, St. 
Thomas always includes objections to his teachings, and then 
provides the responses to these objections. He also does this for 
his teachings on sacramental intention, and his replies offer us 
more details about the two types of intention, along with more 
explanations of the general doctrine of sacramental intention. 
Moreover, these responses of the Angelic Doctor address some of 
the misconceived notions we might have about the intention 
required in the sacraments. 

The first hypothetical objection states: "It seems that the 
validity of a sacrament requires a good intention in the minister. 
For the minister's intention should be in conformity with the 
Church's intention, as explained above (8, ad 1). But the intention 
of the Church is always good. Therefore the validity of a 
sacrament requires of necessity a good intention in the minister" 
(ST III, Q. 64, Art. 10, arg.l). To this first objection, St. Thomas 
responds as such: 

"The Church has a good intention both as to the validity of 
the sacrament and as to the use thereof: but it is the former 
intention that perfects the sacrament, while the latter 
conduces to the meritorious effect. Consequently, the 
minister who conforms his intention to the Church as to the 
former rectitude, but not as to the latter, perfects the 
sacrament indeed, but gains no merit for himself." 

— ST III, Q. 64, Art. 10, ad. 1. 

The second hypothetical objection states: "Further, a 
perverse intention seems worse than a playful one. But a playful 
intention destroys a sacrament: for instance, if someone were to 
baptize anybody not seriously but in fun. Much more, therefore, 
does a perverse intention destroy a sacrament: for instance, if 
somebody were to baptize a man in order to kill him afterwards" 
(ST III, Q. 64, Art. 10, arg. 2). To this second objection, St. 
Thomas responds as such: 

"The intention of mimicry or fun excludes the first kind of 
right intention, necessary for the validity of a sacrament. 
Consequently, there is no comparison." 

— ST III, Q. 64, Art. 10, ad. 2. 



24 



The third hypothetical objection states, "Further, a perverse 
intention vitiates the whole work, according to Luke 11:34: "If thy 
eye be evil, thy" whole "body will be darksome." But the 
sacraments of Christ cannot be contaminated by evil men; as 
Augustine says against Petilian (Cont. Litt. Petil ii). Therefore it 
seems that, if the minister's intention is perverse, the sacrament is 
invalid" (ST III, Q. 64, Art. 10, arg. 3). To this third objection, St. 
Thomas responds as such: 

"A perverse intention perverts the action of the one who has 
such an intention, not the action of another. Consequently, 
the perverse intention of the minister perverts the sacrament 
in so far as it is his action: not in so far as it is the action of 
Christ, Whose minister he is. It is just as if the servant 
(minister) of some man were to carry alms to the poor with a 
wicked intention, whereas his master had commanded him 
with a good intention to do so." 

— ST III, Q. 64, Art. 10, ad. 3. 

From these teachings of St. Thomas it is evident that a man 
may have many wicked intentions in conferring a sacrament, but as 
long as he is simply intending to do what the Church does, then the 
sacrament is valid. This point is clarified by St. Thomas in his 
explanation on why the lack of faith does not mean the lack of 
intention. 

"But if his faith be defective in regard to the very sacrament 
that he confers, although he believe that no inward effect is 
caused by the thing done outwardly, yet he does know that 
the Catholic Church intends to confer a sacrament by that 
which is outwardly done. Wherefore, his unbelief 
notwithstanding, he can intend to do what the Church does, 
albeit he esteem it to be nothing. And such an intention 
suffices for a sacrament: because as stated above (A. 8, ad 2) 
the minister of a sacrament acts in the person of the Church 
by whose faith any defect in the minister's faith is made 
good." 

— ST III, Q. 64, Art. 9, ad. 1. 

Remember that the councils of the Church, such as the 
Council of Trent, have taught that in performing the sacraments 



25 



there must be "the intention at least of doing what the Church 
does." (Council of Trent, Sess. VII. De Sacr. can. 11. 1547). 
Notice how this corresponds to the exact wording of St. Thomas's 
teaching, when he says, "Wherefore, his unbelief notwithstanding, 
he can intend to do what the Church does, albeit he esteem it to 
be nothing," 

Just previously, St. Thomas explained the fundamental 
reason why the minister may have a perverse intention, or no belief 
in the sacrament at all, yet still confer it validly. The reason, as he 
taught, is that Christ is the true Minister of all the sacraments, and 
human ministers are simply carrying out an action of Christ. Since 
Christ is ultimately the true Minister of every sacrament, the 
person performing a sacrament only needs to have a general 
intention of doing what the Church does. With that intention, the 
sacrament will be valid despite their disbelief or heresy regarding 
the sacrament. Here we see more authorized Catholic theological 
manuals which also explain this teaching of the Church. 

"It is not required that he should believe in the Sacrament or 
in the Church herself — a general intention of doing what 
Catholics, or Christians, do is sufficient. This is because the 
true Minister of all the Sacraments is Jesus Christ Himself, the 
men who administer them being only His deputies and 
instruments. As St. Augustine says, whether it be Peter or 
Paul or Judas who administers Baptism, it is equally Christ 
who baptizes." (p. 166) 

— Gerard, Rev. John, S.J. A Course of Religious Instruction for 
Catholic Youth. 1901. 

"Though he is an instrument in Christ's hands, he is not 
simply a tool; he is a living instrument, and therefore the 
action of his will must come in. Moreover, he must at least 
have the "intention of doing what the Church does" (faciendi 
quod facit Ecclesia; Council of Trent, sess. Vii, De Sacr. In gen., 
can. 11). What, however, is the precise import of this formula 
is a matter of discussion among theologians. All agree that 
the minister need not have the specific intention of doing 
what the Roman Catholic Church does; that he need not 
intend to produce the effect of the sacrament; and that he 
need not even believe that the rite is a sacrament at all, or 
know what a sacrament is. They agree, too, that he must 



26 



intend to perform a ceremony which is held as sacred and 
religious by the Church of Christ." (p. 370) 

— Wilhelm, D.D., Ph.D. and Scannell, Thomas B., D.D. A Manual 
of Catholic Theology, Vol. II. 1901. 

By now, the doctrine of sacramental intention should be 
much clearer. The source of much confusion in this matter 
ultimately lies in the notion that one performing a sacrament must, 
for validity, intend what the Church intends. However, for 
validity, it is not necessary that the intention be what the Church 
intends, but only that there is an intention to do "what the Church 
does.'" This should be clear from St. Thomas's previous teaching, 
but is also well stated by the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Joseph Pohle, Ph.d., 
D.D. 

"The Decretum pro Annenis defines that the intention to do 
what the Church does is a necessary requisite for the valid 
administration of a Sacrament. The Tridentine Council 
solemnly declares: "If anyone saith that in ministers, when 
they effect and confer the Sacraments, there is not required 
the intention at least of doing what the Church does, let him 
be anathema." To understand the full significance of this 
declaration it should be noted that the Council does not say, 
"what the Church intends" but merely, "what the Church does." 
Consequently, all that is necessary for the valid 
administration of the Sacraments is the direct intention, i. e. 
the purpose of performing the rite as is usual among 
Catholics. To demand in addition a reflex intention, either for 
the administration of the Sacrament as such, or for the 
production of the sacramental character and the infusion of 
grace, would be to make the validity of the Sacrament depend 
upon the orthodoxy of the minister, - an assumption which 
we have shown to be false." (p. 178) 

— Pohle, Rt. Rev. Msgr. Joseph, Ph.D., D.D. The Sacraments: A 
Dogmatic Treatise, Vol. I. 1915. 

Again, we see it reiterated that there are two types of 
intention a minister could have in confecting the sacraments - 
direct and reflexive. The direct intention affects the validity of the 
sacrament. It is simply the will of actually doing what the Church 
does, which is the will to perform the "rite as is usual among 



27 



Catholics." The reflex intention does not affect the validity of the 
sacrament. It is essentially the will to do what the Church intends, 
which is to will "the production of the sacramental character and 
the infusion of grace." So, a sacrament would be valid even if a 
minister intended to do what the Church does (perform the rite) yet 
did not intend what the Church intends (the production of the 
sacramental character and infusion of grace, etc.) This means that 
the intention does not have to even include the ultimate or 
proximate end of the sacrament. 

"It is not necessary for the validity of the sacrament that the 
minister wish the ultimate end of the sacrament, that is, 
eternal life for the recipient, or even the proximate end, e.g., 
in Baptism, to make one a member of the Church, or to confer 
grace. If this were necessary, the heretic who ignores the 
Church, and the pagan who knows nothing about the 
Church, would never be able to baptize validly." (p.26) 
— De Salvo, Rev. Raphael, O.S.B., S.T.L The Dogmatic Theology on 
the Intention of the Minister in the Confection of the Sacraments. 
1949. 

It's clear that Lienart's intention would have been sufficient 
for validity as long as he simply intended to do what the Church 
does, which would only mean intending to perform the rites of 
ordination on Lefebvre. All of the other possible wicked intentions 
that we might possibly ascribe to Lienart would have been 
intentions that had no affect on validity. As the Church teaches, 
even an implicit intention of doing what the Church does is a 
sufficient intention for a valid sacrament. 

"The intention is sufficient also if the minister intends to do 
something which is equivalent to that which the Church does, 
that is, if he intends to do that which Christ instituted, or 
what is commanded in the Gospel, or what he sees others do. 
This latter indication of the proper intention makes it 
understandable how a Jew or a pagan could have a sufficient 
intention. In a case of necessity a catechumen might call a 
pagan and ask him to pour water on his forehead and 
pronounce the words of Baptism according to the intention of 
the recipient. In fulfilling the request the pagan would have 



28 



at least the implicit intention of doing what the Church does, 
and the Baptism would be valid." (p. 26) 

— De Salvo, Rev. Raphael, O.S.B., S.T.L. The Dogmatic Theology 
on the Intention of the Minister in the Confection of the Sacraments. 
1949. 

"With respect to the object of the intention, it must be "to do 
what the Church does," and the intention may be directed to 
this object in two ways: explicitly and implicitly. A well- 
instructed, pious Catholic, in baptizing an infant, would have 
the explicit intention of "doing what the Church does," while 
a heretic or an infidel, not believing in the true Church or in 
the efficacy of the Sacraments, but yet intending in the act of 
baptizing to do what is done amongst Christians, would have 
the implicit intention of "doing what the Church does," and 
such implicit intention suffices for the validity of the 
Sacrament." (p.47.) 

— O'Kane, Rev. James. Notes on the Rubrics of the Roman Ritual: 
Regarding the Sacraments in General. 1883. 

Lastly, it should be remembered, as the learned Adrian 
Fortescue, D.D. previously pointed out, that unless it's deliberately 
excluded, this implicit intention to do what the Church does is 
something that one performing the sacrament could hardly help 
having. 

"The 'implicit intention of doing what Christ instituted' 
means so vague and small a thing that one can hardly help 
having it — unless one deliberately excludes it." (p. 94) 

— Fortescue, Adrian, D.D. . The Greek Fathers . 1908. 



29 



V 

Presumption of Intention and Validity 

The Church is clear about just how little intention is 
required for a valid sacrament. All that is required is simply an 
implicit intention to do what the Church does, and this intention is 
expressed in the form of the sacrament. Because of this, one can 
hardly help having the intention when performing a sacrament. It 
is possible, however, for a sacrament to be invalid because one 
deliberately excludes the intention of doing what the Church does. 
This could only be known if the minister were to state in some way 
that he deliberately excluded the intention to perform that 
sacrament. Unless a minister expressly states that for a particular 
sacrament, or number of sacraments, he intended to not do what 
the Church does, then the Church presumes that the minister 
intended what he did. 

"Defect of intention must be very rare, with the sole exception 
of marriage, in which diverse motives may operate to 
cause defect of real will. There is always an abstract 
possibility that a man or woman may merely simulate 
marriage consent. In spite of this, people do not generally 
worry about the validity of their marriages; the 
presumption is always that the internal mind corresponds 
to the words spoken. So it is, likewise, with all the 
sacraments; the presumption always is that the minister 
intends what he does." (pp.49 1-492, no.567) 
— Leeming, Bernard, S.J. Principles of Sacramental Theology. 
1956. 

Similarly, St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that unless the 
minister externally expresses that he did not intend to do what the 
Church does when he was performing a sacrament, then the 
intention expressed in the words he uttered in the sacrament 
suffices for the Church to presume validity. 

"The minister of the sacrament acts in the person of the whole 
Church, whose minister he is, and in the words which he 
utters the intention of the Church is expressed. This 
intention suffices for the perfection of the sacrament unless 



30 



the contrary is externally expressed on the part of the 
minister or the recipient of the sacrament." 
— ST III, Q. 64, Art. 8, ad. 2. 

Consequently, as long as the matter and form are correct, the 
Church does not, as a rule, doubt the intention of the minister. No 
Catholic should doubt what the Church does not doubt. 



"As a general rule there is no doubt about the intention of 
the minister of the sacraments provided the matter and the 
form are correctly posited. It is taken for granted that the 
minister has the intention of doing what the Church does." 
(p.ix) 

— De Salvo, Rev. Raphael, O.S.B., S.T.L. The Dogmatic Theology 
on the Intention of the Minister in the Confection of the Sacraments, 
1949. 



"When the fact of ordination is duly established, the validity 
of the orders conferred is naturally to be presumed." (p. 72) 
— Doheny, Rev. William. Canonical Procedure in Matrimonial 
Cases. Vol.11. 1942. 



"The Church does not judge about the mind or intention in so 
far as it is something by its nature internal; but, in so far as it 
is manifested externally, she is bound to judge concerning it. 
When any one has rightly and seriously made use of the due 
form and the matter requisite for effecting or conferring the 
sacrament, he is considered by the very fact to do what the 
Church does. On this principle rests the doctrine that a 
sacrament is truly conferred by the ministry of one who is a 
heretic or unbaptized, provided the Catholic rite be 
employed. On the other hand, if the rite be changed with the 
manifest intention of introducing another rite not approved 
by the Church and of rejecting what the Church does, and 
what by the institution of Christ belongs to the nature of the 
sacrament, then it is clear that not only is the necessary 
intention wanting to the sacrament, but that the intention is 
adverse to and destructive of the sacrament." 
— Popo Leo XIII, Apostolicae Curae. 1896. 



31 



"The Catholic doctrine of Sacramental intention is thus laid 
down by Pope Leo XIII., in his Bull Apostolicae Curae, 
concerning Anglican Orders... Upon this statement of 
doctrine His Holiness based the argument that as the first 
Anglicans openly and professedly repudiated the notion of a 
sacrificial priesthood, and declared that they would have 
none of it, and drew up an ordination rite different from that 
of the Church to suit their own purposes, they plainly 
manifested their intention of not doing what the Catholic 
Church does." (pp. 1 66- 1 67) 

— Gerard, Rev. John, SJ. A Course of Religious Instruction for 
Catholic Youth. 1901. 

"Therefore the Church holds, and till the contrary is proved 
wishes all to hold, that such due intention is never absent 
whensoever the minister seriously goes through the 
sacramental rite she has prescribed, using the matter and 
form which she uses." (p. 105) 

— Brandi, Rev. S. M., S J. and Smith, Sydney F., S J. A Last Word 
on Anglican Ordinations .1897 . 

In brief, Catholic doctrine on sacramental intention requires 
only that the individual be performing the sacrament. A heretical 
and sinful bishop, lazily executing an ordination with a wandering 
mind, who even thinks the holy orders are a silly, antiquated 
tradition, would still be performing a true ordination. Once more, 
Christ has wisely ordained this, because his actions are not for the 
good of himself or even of the ordained, but for the good of the 
Church as a whole. When one is not truly ordained, some outward 
sign is given by which this is known (for instance, if the 
"ordination" were merely part of a play, and therefore clearly not 
intended, or if the bishop stated beforehand it was only a practice 
run), and accepting this falls upon the providence of God. Any 
other doctrine would lead to disaster and ruin. He would not allow 
His Church to become a farce on account of the ill-will of some 
few within Her. No, we can trust that Our Lord preserves Her 
sacraments and validly confers them so long as Her ministers 
follow the matter and form He prescribed. 

As Catholics, we must uphold and follow these Catholic 
principles and teachings. In doing so, we must presume that 
Cardinal Lienart had at least the implicit intention to do what the 



32 



Church does with regard Abp. Lefebvre orders. There is no 
evidence of Lienart stating that he did not intend to do what the 
Church does when he conferred orders on Lefebvre. To presume 
that he internally may not have intended to do what the Church 
does, despite his words and actions in conferring these orders, 
would be to oppose Catholic principles and teachings. It should 
not need to be said that knowingly opposing Catholic principles, 
thereby placing oneself in opposition against the Church, certainly 
has grave moral consequences on our soul. 

Now, simply being able to postulate reasons that a person 
might have had for withholding their intention while performing a 
sacrament is not enough to diminish the presumption that they 
intended to do what the Church does. The intention, and validity 
of the sacrament, is to be presumed until it is proved that the 
minister withheld their intention to do what the Church does. This 
has always been Catholic teaching and practice, even in regards to 
ordinations, as is clearly shown by this teaching of the Holy Office 
of 1931. 

"§ 1. Sacred ordination is presumed to have been validly 
received, unless the contrary is proven. 

§ 2. In order to truly declare the nullity of sacred orders in 
the case in question, it is required to prove the lack of 
intention to have been present." (no. 62, p.470) 
— Acta Apostolicae Sedis, Annus XXIII - Vol. XXIII, 5 Decembris 
1931, Sacra Congregatio De Sacramentis, Caput XIII, De indiciis et 
praesumptionibus. 1931. 2 

We can see that ordinations are to be presumed valid, even 
in the face of all possible speculations about the minister's 
intention; unless it's proved that there was a lack of the intention to 
do what the Church does. The only way to prove this, as was 
previously shown, is to prove that the minister expressly stated his 
intention to not do what the Church does in performing any 
particular sacrament, or number of sacraments. It is easy, then, to 
understand why this validity is called the "queen of presumptions." 

2 English trans, by author. Original Latin text reads as follows: 
§ 1. Sacra ordinatio praesumitur valide recepta, nisi contrarium probetur. 
§ 2. Ad declarandam vero nullitatem sacrorum ordinum in casu de quo agitur, 
requiritur ut defectum intentionis adfuisse probetur. 



33 



"When it is shown that an act or contract has actually been 
entered upon, there is a general presumption of law, known 
as the queen of presumptions, which holds the act or contract 
as valid, until invalidity is proved." (n.408) 

— Wanenmacher, Francis, J.C.D. Canonical Evidence in Marriage 
Cases. 1935. 

We might object, however, that we can't be absolutely 
certain that Lienart didn't deliberately withhold his intention to do 
what the Church does, and, therefore, there is no absolute certainty 
that Lefebvre's orders are valid. This, though, is true in regard to 
every minister and every sacrament. As Rev. De Salvo states, no 
one can have absolute certainty that any particular sacrament is 
valid. 

"It's true that without a special revelation no one can have 
absolute certainty that he has received a sacrament or that he 
is in the state of grace, but his assurance on this subject may 
approach so nearly to this absolute certainty as to make any 
misgiving on the part of the recipient foolish and vain." (p.x) 

— De Salvo, Rev. Raphael, O.S.B., S.T.L. The Dogmatic Theology 
on the Intention of the Minister in the Confection of the Sacraments. 
1949. 

Though we cannot have absolute certainty about the validity of 
any particular sacrament, we can be sufficiently certain, as 
Cardinal Billot states. 

" . . .whenever there is no appearance of simulation on the part 
of the minister, the validity of the sacrament is sufficiently 
certain." (p.201) 

— Billot, Cardinal Louis, S.J. De Ecclesiae Sacramentis. 
Commentarius in Tertiam Partem S. Thomae. Vol.1, 5 th Ed. 1914. 

Apart from special revelation, we can never have absolute 
certainty about the validity of a sacrament, but when it is 
performed with the proper matter and form, and with no 
appearance of simulation, we have moral certainty of its validity. 
This moral certainty is what Cardinal Billot previously described 
as being "sufficiently certain." Moral certainty is not the certainty 



34 



of faith, for we cannot have the certainty of faith that any particular 
sacrament is valid; but moral certainty is all we need. 

"It is true that we cannot be certain with the certainty of faith, 

— that is, with the certainty with which we believe the being 
of God or the articles of the creed, — that this or that priest 
has been validly ordained, or this or that Sacrament has been 
validly administered; but we are certain, with the certainty of 
faith, that priests and Sacraments are Christ's institution; and 
moreover we may be morally certain that in any indefinite 
number of instances there was an intention to do what the 
Church does; and these two certainties are enough for all 
practical purposes." (p.28) 

— Brotherhood of St. Vincent of Paul. "The Intention of the 
Minister Necessary, etc." The Clifton Tracts, Vol.III. 1865. 

This moral certainty, therefore, is sufficient for acting prudently 
and without anxieties. 

"Concerning the validity of the sacraments one can have 
moral certitude, which suffices for acting prudently, and for 
dispelling anxieties of spirit. Thus Leo XIII: "When someone 
seriously and according to the ritual adheres to the due 
matter and form for confecting and conferring a sacrament, 
from this fact [considered according to the common manner 
in which men act] it may be inferred that he undoubtedly 
intends (with an internal intention) to do what the Church 
does."[Apostolicae Curae]" (n.479, rep. to obj. 2) 

— Herve, Msgr. Jean Marie. Manuale Theologiae Domaticae, Vol. 
III. 1929. 

Though at this point we might well understand that we 
ought to presume a minister or recipient of a particular sacrament 
had at least the implicit intention to do what the Church does, it's 
possible that we may still feel anxiety arising from lingering 
negative doubts about the unknown possibility that a minister, such 
as Cardinal Lienart, deliberately withheld their intention. 
However, to calm these anxieties, we ought to remember that even 
if this were the case, we would still receive graces by approaching 
those sacraments in good faith according to the principles and 



35 



teachings of the Church, such as those presented throughout this 
paper. 

"It must be remembered that God, who has bound Himself to 
give grace when the sacraments are duly received, has 
nowhere limited His power to give grace apart from these 
rites. One, therefore, who acts in good faith may have 
prudent assurance that no disaster will befall him through the 
deceit of the wicked minister." (p.x) 

— De Salvo, Rev. Raphael, O.S.B., S.T.L. The Dogmatic Theology 
on the Intention of the Minister in the Confection of the Sacraments. 
1949. 

"What the Catholic Church teaches is, that there is no 
Sacrament without intention; she is not so foolish or so im- 
pious as to teach that there is no grace without Sacraments, 
much less does she say that another's intention is necessary 
for our salvation. On the contrary, she would have us be sure 
that God, who is love, will rather work a miracle than suffer a 
man of good will to be really a loser by an act of volition in 
another without fault of his own." (p.29) 

— Brotherhood of St. Vincent of Paul. "The Intention of the 
Minister Necessary, etc." The Clifton Tracts, Vol.III. 1865. 



36 



VI 

Conclusion 

Doubts about Cardinal Lienart's intention in the 
ecclesiastical and sacramental acts he performed should no longer 
be entertained in the Catholic mind. We must presume that he 
intended to do what the Church does when he did what the Church 
does. We must, as Catholics, presume that these acts were valid. 
To entertain doubts or presume anything else would be to oppose 
Catholic teaching. This would, objectively, be a grave sin. We 
can be morally and sufficiently certain of the validity of 
Acrchbishop Lefebvre's orders, and, again, we are obliged, as 
Catholics, to presume these orders to be as valid as any others. 
Nothing has been proven in any way that Lienart withheld his 
intention to "do what the Church does" when receiving orders or 
conferring orders on Lefebvre; and this would have to be proven 
before a Catholic could do anything other than presume validity. 
Not only has it not been proven, but there has been absolutely no 
evidence to indicate that Lienart was not intending "to do what the 
Church does". Even if it were certain that he was a Freemason, 
this would not be evidence that he withheld his intention to "do 
what the Church does" when he did what the Church does. It 
would, at most, be evidence that he may not have intended what 
the Church intends, but as was shown, this type of intention is not 
required for validity. 

If any feelings or thoughts of doubt should ever arise within 
us over these issues, we ought to turn our mind towards the mind of 
the Church and her teachings, knowing that in light of these 
teachings these particular doubts about Lienart's intention are 
simply negative doubts, which we are morally obliged to avoid. 
By following the teachings of the Church, we act in good faith, 
and, as previously stated by Rev. De Salvo, "One, therefore, who 
acts in good faith may have prudent assurance that no disaster will 
befall him through the deceit of the wicked minister." (De Salvo, 
p.x) Lastly, there doesn't seem to be more fitting and memorable 
words to help resolve these doubts, and reaffirm what has been 
previously stated, than the following teaching from the 
Brotherhood of St. Vincent of Paul's Clifton Tracts. 



37 



"But to come to what the Church herself has declared; for 
Protestants have very wild notions on the subject, and fancy 
that a great deal more is meant by "intention" than is meant. 
All that she positively requires is, that the person who 
administers a Sacrament should "intend to do what the 
Church does;" and by these words is not meant that the 
person should intend immediately to do what the Catholic 
Church, or, as Protestants would say, the Roman Church 
does; on the contrary, if he intend immediately to do what 
some Protestant sect does, the Sacrament is valid, if only as a 
matter of fact that sect does what the Catholic Church does. 
This being so, it is plain that it is not necessary to intend to 
confer any grace, or produce any spiritual effect, by means of 
a Sacrament, or even to know the nature of the rite; it is 
sufficient to intend to do that particular act which the Church 
does. Neither faith nor knowledge are required; nay, a man 
may actively disbelieve and deride the doctrine of the 
Church, and openly protest against and abjure any 
sacramental efficacy in the act that he does, and even deny 
that it has any sacredness in it, and yet he will perform a 
valid Sacrament if only he intend to do that religious act 
which the Church does. Hence we see the irrelevance of all 
objections grounded on the feet that there have been at times 
priests in the Church who were secretly infidels; their infi- 
delity could not invalidate their priestly acts, if only they 
intended to do what the Church does. And, by the way, I 
may observe, that an infidel is a most unlikely person to 
withhold his intention: he does not believe that Sacraments 
are any thing with intention; why, then, should he withhold 
it? Any how, personal belief or non-belief has nothing to do 
with the matter. It is what the Church does, not what she 
intends, that must be intended by the minister of a 
Sacrament." (pp. 13-14) 

— Brotherhood of St. Vincent of Paul. "The Intention of the 
Minister Necessary, etc." The Clifton Tracts, Vol.III. 1865. 



38 



Appendix A 

The Deathbed Confession 

It's been claimed that Cardinal Lienart made a deathbed 
confession and that the words of that supposed deathbed 
confession would constitute additional evidence, and perhaps 
another argument, against his intention in conferring orders on 
Abp. Lefebvre. Some have said that Lienart confessed to being a 
Freemason on his deathbed, and then released his confessor from 
the seal of the confessional, requesting him to make this confession 
known to the public. Others go further and say he confessed to 
trying to destroy the Church. And while some quote Lienart as 
supposedly saying, "humanly speaking, the Church is dead," 
whatever else he supposedly said is never actually quoted, only 
paraphrased. This story of a supposed deathbed confession has 
been repeated overtime by various people, generally in varying 
contexts. For instance, some tell the story of a prideful, gloating, 
Lienart confessing these things in a victorious manner. Others tell 
the story of a sorrowful and remorseful Lienart attempting to make 
amends at the end of his life. Yet, the supposed first-hand source 
for any version of this story remains nameless and unidentifiable. 

Despite the fact that the words and story of an anonymous 
source would have no standing in an ecclesiastical court, some 
people still let it stand as evidence in their minds. However, just as 
Lienart's supposed Freemasonic, or Luciferian, history, if verified, 
would tell us nothing about whether he deliberately held a positive 
intention to not do what the Church does when he did what the 
Church does; the same holds true about the worst he is supposed to 
have said on his deathbed. All of what he is said to have 
confessed has nothing to do with whether or not he intended to do 
what the Church does in any of the sacramental acts he was 
involved in. Whether quoted or paraphrased, the words of his 
supposed confession say nothing at all about any sacraments he 
performed. 

Lienart's supposed confession would, at most, show that he 
did not intend what the Church intends, which makes no difference 
to the validity of the sacrament. Proof that anyone internally 
intended not to do what the Church does when performing any 
sacrament, or any group of sacraments, would have to come in the 



39 



form of their own words expressing just that. In the case of 
someone performing the rites externally as a Catholic, this would 
require some artifact showing the expressed words of the person 
saying that he did not intend to do what the Church does for a 
particular sacrament, or group of sacraments. Evidence that 
someone confessed to trying to destroy the Church would only 
show, at most, that they did not intend what the Church intends, 
but it in no way tells us that they did not intend to do what the 
Church does when they did what the Church does. The Church 
teaches that we are to presume a sacrament is valid until it is 
proven that the lack of intention was present. When following this 
Catholic principle, there is no room for doubt. It is either proven 
that the intention was not there, or it is presumed valid. 

The supposed deathbed confession doesn't prove anything 
about Lienart's intention in performing the sacraments. It doesn't 
even address the topic. To doubt Lienart's intention in performing 
any particular sacrament, based on this supposed deathbed 
confession, would be to render meaningless the Catholic principle 
of the presumption of intention and validity. Rather, this doubt 
could only be based on a principal of presuming intention, not until 
it's proven otherwise, but only until a person could imagine it to be 
otherwise - an entirely new, non-Catholic principle. 



40 



Appendix B 

Syllogisms 



The logic for why it must be presumed that Lienart 
intended to do what the Church does when performing the 
sacraments can be shown in two simple syllogisms, each under a 
different scenario with regard to the supposed evidence. 

Scenario 1: The first-hand sources of all "evidence" of Lienart' s 
Masonry and deathbed confession are anonymous, making the 
supposed evidence equivalent to hearsay. 

1 . Intention to do what the Church does when performing 
the sacraments must be presumed until the contrary is 
proven. 

2. Hearsay is not evidence, and cannot prove anything. 

3. All supposed evidence of Lienart' s Masonry and 
deathbed confession is hearsay. 

4. All supposed evidence of Lienart' s Masonry and 
deathbed confession is, therefore, not actual evidence, and 
cannot prove anything. 

5. Therefore, proving that Lienart did not intend to do what 
the Church does cannot be done with any or all supposed 
evidence (hearsay) of Lienart's Masonry and deathbed 
confession. 

6. It must, therefore, be presumed that Lienart intended to 
do what the Church does in performing the sacraments. 



41 



Scenario 2: The first-hand sources of all "evidence" of Lienart's 
Masonry and deathbed confession are verified to be true (this is 
hypothetical, as it has not occurred). 

1 . Intention to do what the Church does when performing 
the sacraments must be presumed until the contrary is 
proven (not speculated or conjectured). 

2. Proving that a man did not intend to do what the Church 
does when performing a particular sacrament, or group of 
sacraments, would require evidence involving the explicit, 
unquestionable, testimony of that man stating that he did 
not intend to do what the Church does when performing a 
particular sacrament, or group of sacraments. 

3. Proof that a man was part of an evil anti-Catholic 
organization, and wanted to destroy the Church, would not 
be evidence of an explicit, unquestionable, testimony that 
he did not intend to do what the Church does when 
performing a particular sacrament, or group of sacraments. 

4. Lienart's Masonic history and deathbed confession do 
not involve explicit, unquestionable, testimonies that he did 
not intend to do what the Church does when performing a 
particular sacrament, or group of sacraments. 

5. Lienart's Masonic history and deathbed confession do 
not prove that he did not intend to do what the Church does 
when performing a particular sacrament, or group of 
sacraments. Based on his Masonic history and deathbed 
confession, it would be speculation and conjecture to assert 
Lienart did not intend to do what the Church does when 
performing the sacraments. 

6. It must, therefore, be presumed that Lienart intended to 
do what the Church does when performing the sacraments. 



42 



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